Meet the candidates for Columbia’s District 4 special election: Peter Brown and Beatrice King
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In less than three weeks, the City of Columbia will hold a special election to fill the seat of late City Councilman Joe Taylor of District Four.
Hailed as a driving force for Columbia, Taylor died at the age of 64 on Dec. 24, 2022. He is survived by his wife and two adult children.
The candidates for this month’s special election are Beatrice King and Peter Brown.
“While no one can fill Joe Taylor’s shoes, someone has to step in and fill the position,” said King.
Originally from an island in the French West Indies, King has called Columbia home for over 30 years.
The small-business owner has operated a picture frame and wall art store from her home in Forest Hills since 2007.
She told WIS she brings ten years of experience as a Richland School District One (R1) board member.
“It was rewarding. I spent a lot of time in all of our schools. And sometimes in the tougher schools in the city, and I loved every minute of it,” said King.
She believes her French-turned-American residency will bring a culturally dynamic perspective to the city council.
“My background, certainly, is very different than anyone else’s on the council. Which is great because I do love diversity… It enriches the conversation, enriches the experience, and I think it’s important to have those representations on public bodies,” continued King.
She told WIS her platform is based on three pillars: public safety, economic development, and the protection/beautification of neighborhoods. The former R1 board member said public education affects every component of her platform.
Opposing King on the ballot is a global businessman and South Carolina native Peter Brown. Brown was a long-time friend of Taylor’s.
“Joe and I were not only good friends, but we worked together, we raised money together, we traveled together, we had fun together, we hunted together, we did everything together. So, I think that kind of gives me an insight into who he was and he had an insight into who I was,” said Brown.
The acclaimed businessman restarted Colite, his family’s custom sign company, with his brother in 1992.
The company now operates through a 130,000 sq. ft. warehouse on Technology Circle in Columbia. Peter told WIS his company delivers to anywhere from 100 to 150 countries annually.
“If you’re not interested in fundamental change and the way we do business in South Carolina, I’m not your guy. Absolutely not your guy. If you want to explore how we’re going to do things differently, how we’re going to work together, how we’re going to keep from making Columbia further behind, then I’m your guy,” continued Brown.
Brown says he wants to run Columbia like a business. He hopes to do this by uniting the capital city and solving problems that have persisted for decades.
Brown told WIS his platform is based on four pillars: public safety, tax reform, running Columbia like a business, and quality of life.
Brown’s approach has garnered support from several elected officials.
“Peter will carry Joe Taylor’s torch and help deliver the vision we all have for a better city. His unmatched experience in the industry and economic development will lead Columbia to a brighter future… We need Peter Brown to help us modernize our tax structure, improve our customer service, and continue along with the positive momentum we’re already experiencing,” said Mayor Daniel Rickenmann on his endorsement announcement for Brown.
Brown is additionally endorsed by U.S. Senator Tim Scott, Congressman Joe Wilson, Columbia City Councilwoman Dr. Aditi Bussells, and West Columbia Mayor Temus “Tem” Miles.
Sen. Scott on his hallmark endorsement for Brown:
“I’m proud to stand with Peter Brown and support his run for Columbia City Council. Peter’s experience will help Columbia cut red tape and run more like a business. The Capital City will benefit from his focus on public safety and constituent service and I know he will always deliver for the people. Peter Brown’s resume speaks for itself as he has been a champion of economic development and opportunity all across our state. I look forward to working with him when he is seated on Columbia City Council.”
Rep. Wilson issued this statement to WIS on Thursday:
“I am proud to support Peter Brown for Columbia City Council. His involvement in the Midlands community has made a positive impact for many years, and I look forward to his leadership on city council.”
Dr. Bussells issued a statement on her endorsement, as well:
”Peter’s proven leadership as a business owner and lifelong resident of Columbia is vital to moving our city forward. As we work towards our bright future, I am confident that Peter will work to continue our efforts to make Columbia, a competitive, vibrant, and thriving city that allows all of our residents to meet their full potential. His perspective and experience in economic development and building a business will be valuable to ensuring that we can address the root causes of complex issues and help our city grow.”
King told WIS she’s endorsed by former Richland County Councilman Greg Pearce, who made the following statement about King:
“During her ten (10) years of dedicated service on the Richland District One School Board, I have watched Beatrice King not only focus her attention on issues and challenges within Columbia’s classrooms but also gain valuable perspectives of the issues and challenges facing Columbia at large. If we elect Beatrice King to City Council, she will arrive on day one with the much needed experience, the talent and the energy to immediately begin to make Columbia an even better place to live, work, recreate, and raise a family.”
R1 board members Robert Lominack said this about King:
“Beatrice is a tenacious advocate for the good of the community. She will always listen and work with others to get things done and she simply will not back down from an opportunity to do what is right by people. She will put people over politics every single time.”
Richland One Commissioner Barbara Weston made the following statement on King:
“Beatrice King is a smart, dynamic, energetic lady who loves her community. She has a servant’s heart and will be a great asset to Columbia City Council. I wholeheartedly support her in this endeavor.”
Richland School District Two Board Chair Lindsay Agostini also endorsed King.
Early voting for the special election begins this Monday and will run until March 24, 2023, at the Richland County Administrative building on 2020 Hampton St.
The election will occur across 15 polling locations on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. For information on eligibility and polling locations, visit SCvotes.gov.
Terry Graham, Interim Director of the Richland County Voter Registration and Elections office, told WIS over 20,000 people are eligible to vote in District Four.
He anticipates 5% to 7% of voters to turnout.
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